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AMAZING DELORES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Stop Messin' with My Mind (Upstart) 1994

This Appalachian wildwoman may look like your Aunt Sophie all dolled up for the bus to Atlantic City, but she sounds like Bessie Smith reincarnated as a roadhouse rockabilly diva. The Amazing Delores (Boyd) — born and bred in Mudlick, West Virginia (!) — is gifted with a raspy, raunchy voice that can recall Captain Beefheart (on "Love Magic") or a cat in heat (on the loopy "Rats in My Trailer"). She's also clearly gotten her soul caught in the same God-vs.-Satan tug-o-war that's addled fellow southerners from Jerry Lee Lewis to Daniel Johnston. The ecstatic intensity with which she rebukes underworld spirits ("Stop Testifyin' to the Devil") seemingly gives the edge to the Man Upstairs, but the hormone-drenched "Do the In and Out" evens the playing field somewhat. A variety of local musicians — including producer/multi-instrumentalist Michael Lipton, whose answering machine messages from Delores provide suitably spooky between-song punctuation — keep a low blue flame burning beneath the splendidly spicy stew.

[David Sprague]